Background to Art Fund
Art Fund is a UK charity, founded in 1903, that exists to help museums and galleries buy and display art for the public to enjoy. Most of our funding comes from sales of the National Art Pass (from £67), which offers free entry into over 240 charging museums, galleries and historic houses in the UK, as well as 50% off major exhibitions.
In addition, Art Fund also promotes the Student Art Pass for just £5, available from September to December each year and open to all full-time university students in the UK on the website. The Student Art Pass offers all the same admission benefits as the National Art Pass, as well as an accompanying programme of activity to keep members up-to-date on the latest must-see exhibitions and collections, and to provide access to competitions and paid creative opportunities within the arts.
Recent research commissioned by Art Fund showed that museums and galleries are an untapped resource in the UK’s battle against stress and anxiety. Findings showed that 63% of us find them helpful in de-stressing, but only 6% go regularly. Moreover, it concluded that actively investing in our leisure time—taking 30 minutes a day—is beneficial to managing the stresses of modern life. The research found that those people visiting museums regularly, once a month, demonstrated a greater sense of wellbeing than those visiting less frequently or not at all. Sadly, only 23% of students claimed to ever visit museums or galleries.
Paul Dolan, professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said: "Art Fund’s study highlights two vital areas that impact our happiness—time and stress. Taking the time to relieve everyday stress and anxiety is crucial for wellbeing. While most of us have the time, we simply don't take it. This is a symptom of the pace of the modern world that we live in, but any activity that helps us take a break is a good thing and something everyone should do more of. Taking just 30 minutes a day for a leisure activity can work wonders in helping manage the stresses of modern life".
The creative challenge
Convince all students—not just art or history students—that visiting museums and galleries can help them step out of their daily lives and get a new perspective on the world. For some, it might be about inspiration. For others, museums and galleries can offer a chance to relax and reset, or a fresh place to socialise.
Create a campaign that will challenge people to take stock, reprioritise and discover the great variety of experiences and space that museums and galleries offer, afresh.
The target audience
Most students will be aged between 18 and 24 years. Some will be living away from home and meeting new people for the first time, and all will be coping with the stresses and strains of student life, such as exams and coursework.
Students are increasingly dominated by technology, with young people admitting they spend on average 3 hours a day on social media or scrolling through a staggering 300ft of content each day (the height of the statue of liberty!). In a recent survey, 77% of students said they’d consider some form of detox, in fact they felt they needed it.
Museums and galleries are peaceful, physical spaces where you can take time to de-stress.
The ability to take action and influence our own lives has a remarkable impact on our state of wellbeing and happiness. Without this sense of agency we are left feeling ‘out of control’ and like a passenger in our own lives.
University is meant to be a time of discovery, a time to turn yourself into the adult you want to be, yet only 2 in 5 (41%) of UK students say they deliberately make choices that give their life meaning.
Half (51%) of UK students feel anxious some of the time and two fifths feel high levels of anxiety on any given day.
Pressures range from coping with exams (42%), financial worries (51%), and getting a job after graduation (54%—more than half).
There are two key messages that we want this campaign to communicate:
- Primary: museums and galleries are places that can help you switch off, relax, find inspiration and fresh perspectives on yourself and the world around you.
- Secondary: the Student Art Pass is your passport to seeing more (alleviating any financial barriers, and serving you content on the latest things to see and do).
You’re free to bring your creative thinking to life in whatever channel, or combination of channels, you think will best connect with the audience. That might include:
- University media channels. Each year, universities help us spread the word about the Student Art Pass through their internal comms channels, including on-campus posters, university emails, intranets, student unions, student news publications (university magazines or papers), digital screens on campus and in lecture halls, and through faculty. How could you inspire universities to get behind this message and share it with their students?
- Halls of residence. These are spaces where most people are living away from home for the first time. Think about what we could do in halls of residences to bring our key messages to life.
- Student Ambassadors. We have brand ambassadors at 10 Universities around the UK in major cities like Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford. Each ambassador is well-known on campus and promotes the Student Art Pass through social media, events and other activities. Think about how ambassadors could use their influence to convey the key messages.
- Digital ads. Raising awareness through social media is highly effective because it allows us to target students directly through paid adverts (e.g. sponsored posts on Facebook), as well as organically through university social media, the social media accounts of museums and galleries, or influencers. Think about how you could create something engaging and shareable for social media channels.
- Brand partnerships. There could be partnership opportunities with relevant brands or organisations that resonate with university students. Who could Art Fund partner with to raise awareness of our key messages on campuses?
- Museums and galleries. What could cultural venues do themselves to attract more students and demonstrate their relevancy in the battle to de-stress?
Make clear the scale of museums in the UK—the variety and breadth—and that they are more local than you think. 55% of the British public live within walking distance of a museum or gallery.
Think digital first. When engaging students across the UK we find digital channels to have the broadest reach.
Be budget conscious. Our budgets will be very limited for production costs. However, because of our longstanding relationship with museums and galleries we are often able to waive copyright fees to works of art, as well as the use of space within museums. Both could prove useful in the delivery of the campaign.
There are very few mandatories for this campaign, but we ask students to keep in mind the following elements:
- The campaign must treat the Student Art Pass as a stand-alone product, and should not draw any comparisons to the price of the National Art Pass;
- It should make references to Art Fund and the Student Art Pass;
- It should feature a 'call to action'. This could include directing students to artfund.org to find the museum or gallery nearest them.
Deliverables & additional information
For guidance on how to submit your work, please adhere to the main guidelines information which can be found here.
Any additional information referenced in the brief can be found in the downloadable Project Pack above.